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Rare episode of the forgotten 50's sitcom "The Beulah Show", The first sitcom to feature an African American woman in the lead role. Starring Hattie McDaniel, best known for her part in "Gone With The Wind". Although the show ran for several seasons, only 7 episodes still exist, Making this the TV equivalent of a "Partially lost film".
Aired 12 August 1952.
This movie is part of the collection: Classic TV
Production Company: Roland Reed Productions
Audio/Visual: Sound, Black and White
Keywords: Classic TV; 50's Television; Fifties; 1950's; The Beulah Show; Hattie McDaniel;
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The Bridge -
Subject: I started with Beulah in the 1940's on RADIO
After Grammer school at Normandie Ave and Santa Monica Blvd, my friend and I would walk to his house just two doors west of where they did the recording of the Beulah Show in a store front building on the south side of Fountain Avenue just west of Normandie Avenue. I remember very vividly a very NICE Marvin Miller (the announcer) and of course the very kind lady who kept telling my friend and I to stay in school and do good, Hattie McDaniel. They recorded the show on transcription. Sometimes we had all the chairs filled, maybe twenty of them, and other times just my friend and I were there. Hallo Shampoo was the sponsor then. As for the television show, I never cared for it, Hattie McDaniel - yes, the show, no thanks.
Subject: just totally nauseating episode!!!
It appalls me to think anyone today believes this was typical American behavior in 1952. These upper class twits are bone idle and work shy. I'm sure they represent the way Hollywood execs lived but as for the rest of us moving from the cities or the small towns to the suburbs, this bears NO resemblance to any sort of reality. Why Beulah didn't go on strike, I'm sure I don't know. She surely could have. They were utterly helpless without her to baby them. They didn't even learn the lesson that they should lift a finger now and then around the house and show a bit of responsibility, just that they should give the gardener a raise. Wasn't THAT a nice lesson for their son!! I hope these useless idiots were the first up against the wall when the revolution came!
Subject: Hattie McDonald was first class
Hattie McDonald was a wonderful actress. I enjoy seeing anything she is in. While "The Beulah show" may now be considered racist sterotyping, I feel Hattie gave her character dignity and sweetness.
....Wuz Hazel Black..?...Don't Worry Bout Hattie...Had A Fine House In L.A...Won A Supreme Court Case To Live There...Had A Rolls With A White Chauffeur..!...Hattie's Wish (She Died In 1952 Of Breast Cancer) Was To Be Buried At Hollywood Memorial Park (Now Hollywood Forever)...But It Was A Whites Only Boneyard..But The New Owner Has Put Up A Centograph There Anyway..
Subject: Reminiscent of South Africa
It's scary how similar the programme and its racial views were to my upbringing in South Africa in the 1980's. The whole issue of a white family with the black servants, the gardener (who we would have called the garden boy), Beulah bringing the food through to the dinner table etc... was almost like a flash back.
Does this show sort of reminds you of Hazel from 1961 ?
Subject: A catalog site for Classic TV shows
If you like Classic TV from of the 50's, I found a catalog site that makes it easy to find and watch episodes streaming from Archive.org at:
There are currently over 400 individual episodes of about 30 different programs, and the site is growing day by day. Check it out!
Philosopher Jay -
This was the first American television series to feature a Black actress in the lead role. Like "Amos and Andy" it started in 1950 and lasted one year longer than "Amos and Andy" until 1953. It is the only show that was really integrated. While the show may be considered racist for showing Beulah as a stereotypical maid in a white household, we should remember that this reflected a large part of society at the time. The show is funny and sweet once you get past the stereotypical premise.
I remember seeing the show in the afternoons on television. Since it went off the air in 1953, the year of my birth, I can only assume it was in reruns for a number of years afterwards.
I'm sorry to hear that most of episodes have been lost. They definitely have historical value as the only show to center around a black female character in the 1950's. There was not another television series with a black female character in the lead until "Julia" in 1968.
Subject: "Somebody bawl for Beaulah?"
"Beaulah" was a spin-off character from the "Fibber McGee and Molly" radio program which you can find elsewhere here. What most peop[le don't know is that, on radio, the voice of Beaulah was actually supplied by Marlon Hurt---a white GUY. (You know now why you hear the gasps of laughter from the radio audience when Beaulah first begins to speak, don'tcha? Marlon had a habit of standing with his back to the microphone (and the audience) until he had to deliver his first line.
I give it three stars for its historical value as a TV show.